Today I will be telling you about musical phenomenon of Synaesthesia and album Embody.
But first a quick explanation:
Synaesthesia is a psychological term. It means the appearance of sensory signals in certain areas of the brain as opposed to real perception. To clarify let me remind you about the states that are familiar to most people: under the influence of some sound waves of certain frequencies one can feel fragrances or see fragments of some other reality saturated with one's imagination. Synaesthesia is not co-sensation, it is more like "co-presentation", "co-feeling". It is associative in nature, or specifically intersensual connection. And like any connection it could be either passive, or active (creative), with different degrees of feeling (up to eidetic).
Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber are musicians from Austro-Canadian duo Delerium, who after some serious study and analysis of this phenomenon decided to supplement it with sound collages made in "dark sound" aesthetics. Seriously though by '95 they had quite tense friction with recording label and they concealed their authorship of Synaesthesia tracks. It was attributed to certain R.Deckard (who was only a character in a Blade Runner movie). Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber were listed as producers and "sound manipulators". Experiences of work in crowded Front Line Assembly project and above mentioned Delirium helped Leeb and Fulber in releasing their "dark" inspiration in first two Synaesthesia albums: full length "Desideratum" double album and eclectic release "Embody", which is basis for the early chillout works by Boris Blenn and Gabriel Le Mar.
Embody consists of gloomy and layers sequences over somewhat frightening low background drones. Careful listener can hear samples and beats from other famous acts: Kraftwerk, Androgynous, Future Sound of London, Tangerine Dream and others. Wide electronic palette of weeping synthesizers helped create a fabulous sound dynamism and deep low-pitched chords in this release.
01. Outland (9:49)
02. Alien Intruder (8:29)
03. New Horizons (10:35)
04. Door To The Other Side (11:17)
05. Hemisphere (10:14)
06. Submerged (7:12)
07. Floatation (8:38)
1. Outland - Clapping sticks boiling in a coffee maker! Native Northern American percussion skilfully combine with extensive backgrounds of breaking beats. And, behind the scenes, droning female vocals stylised after Arabian singing with frosty sequences crashing in waves around the listener.
2. Alien Intruder - northern crescendo beginning combines with sounds of native Australian instrument didgeridoo and again resolves into broken rhythms like in the first track. An Australian (?) shaman, listening to the shouts of some tropical bird giving birth and knocking his rattle on a ritual headdress trancey drones : "Let it us, let it us, let it us ... ..." They says that this track has impressed Boris Blenn so much that he started his own chillout-project Galaxy. Out of envy, of course.
3. New Horizons - melancholic minor key-ethnic composition spiced with signature Delerium ingredients: Indian drums, jingly wind howls and hollow bell chimes. Australian shaman got tired, and took some lighter rattler. The bird is giving birth with less intensity but more lament.
4. Door To The Other Side - dark atmosphere and cinematic beginning: creaking sounds walking on the sub cortex of listeners consciousness serve as a background to the blow, and some woman emits a slightly muffled scream of pain. Then there is a heavy muttering rhythm of a relentless hopelessness and a chain of the clanking synthesised sequences. Pictures of medieval inquisition with their severe torture immediately come to mind, gloomy and scary. At the very end of this track I heard rattling of wheels from "Trans Europe Express" by Kraftwerk. These sounds slowly and unwillingly wash away both inquisitors and atmosphere itself.
5. Hemisphere - is perhaps the most ominous track for me. Rising from the ashes carried by the wind and even gloomier crescendo. Shamanic rattles became more concentrated and menacing. Reversed beat, deep gurgle and cautious melodics, fleeing perception slide over rubbery croaking of a bass lines and yawning backgrounds.
6. Submerged - opens with semi-chaotic reversed beat interlaced with vocal fragments and sounds of the scared birds. An aggressive rhythmic pattern emerges based on the same Kraftwerks "Trans-European Express". The ubiquitous Australian shaman dexterously changing ritual attires and rattles alertly watches the birds and wales through the native synthesizer sequences. And the ringing wind keeps howling...
7. Floatation - final closing composition of the album. In this track we can accurately trace the themes of Germans Tangerine Dream: the solemnly-floating textures of the Arctic ice mixed with frosty winds of Hyperborei. The only really contemplative and meditative track of the album.
I can tell the following: musicians from Front Line Assembly and Delerium managed to embody the gloomy intentions which are not appropriate conceptually for the former project and are too experimental for latter. Embody became rather sensible and marvellously monolithic. Sound manipulations of Synaesthesia duo win with their conceptualism and competency of the skilled jeweller expert in his business. Bravo!
[c] & [p] 1995 Zoth Ommog